A new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Japan, the country’s Health Ministry announced on Sunday.
The mutation was found in four people — male and female, ranging from their teens to their 40s — who arrived from Brazil. While there are similarities to strains first reported in the U.K. and South Africa, this particular type does not appear to have been spotted before.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has reported the variant to the World Health Organization.
The infected passengers arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Jan. 2. After they tested positive at the airport, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases analyzed their samples and confirmed the COVID-19 variant. Three had shown symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever and sore throat.
The NIID also announced its confirmation of the new variant on Sunday. At present, the institute said, it is difficult to judge the strain’s transmissibility, the risk of developing serious symptoms and the effectiveness of vaccines.
The variants found in the U.K. and South Africa have been determined to spread more easily than strains detected earlier in the pandemic. Japan, meanwhile, is in the midst of its worst coronavirus wave yet.
The worst wave yet, you say?
I doubt it.
Obviously (I hope?), these “new strains,” if they actually even exist, are just the typical strains of the flu that appear every year. Hundreds or thousands of new strains of the flu come up every flu season, because for a virus to survive, it has to constantly mutate to evade the immune systems of various mammals.
I was looking for a layman’s analysis of the way viruses mutate, and the best I’m able to find is from a biology textbook, Evolutionary Analysis (4th, Freeman and Scott, 2007):
Causes of the “rapid” evolution of influenza viruses
Most pathogens have large population sizes and short generation times. This is particularly true for viruses. The complete replication-cycle of a virus within a host cell often takes only a few hours and results in many thousands new viruses. Because the viral RNA-polymerase does not possess a proof-reading-function, faulty nucleotides are integrated during replication with a likelihood of 10-3 to 10-4, which results in high mutation rates. In fact, the error rate of the viral RNA-polymerase is 1000 times higher than the error rate of the human DNApolymerase. Thus, three characteristics contribute to the rapid evolution of these viruses: large populations, short generation times and high mutation rates. Every mutation, which enables its carrier to evade the host’s immune system, will be (positively) selected, passed on to the next generation and distributed more widely. Influenza viruses evolve 1 million times faster than mammals. Five years of virus evolution roughly correspond to the time span, which separates humans and chimpanzees from their last common ancestor
For an even simpler source, there’s an article on Slate from 2008 explaining why the flu vaccine doesn’t protect against every strain of the flu:
It wouldn’t be worth the effort, even if it were feasible. There are thousands of influenza subtypes infecting people around the world, but very few are likely to make someone in the United States sick. Vaccinating people against a disease they’re never going to get is a risky proposition: We don’t know how the body would respond to a barrage of flu vaccinations. The patient might also develop a strong immune response to an insignificant strain, while skimping on antibodies for a nastier virus.
The media presumably doesn’t have any idea about any of this (journalists are almost universally social science majors, who were too stupid to compete in their chosen field), but even if they did, they wouldn’t tell you.
The point being: of course the virus is mutating, all viruses mutate, this means nothing.
It’s like when that black guy rode a horse across the bridge of that Empirical ship, even though the magic Mary Sue bitch is going to blow them all up using magic anyway.
They are just throwing random, meaningless plot details at you with this “new strain” claptrap.
It remains just the flu, it remains only a threat to the elderly and people with various serious health problems. Nothing is liable to change that.
Once again: this is all a hoax, designed to transform society in ways that the average person cannot possibly even begin to grasp.